Category Archives: About Fusion Splicers

Cleavers: The Cutting Edge of Fiber Optics, …Literally!

The first step to a good fiber optic splice is a good cleave angle.  A cleave in fiber is usually performed when a nick is made in the fiber, then proper tension is either applied at the same time or after.  This tension makes the nick become the fracture point – which in turn results in a flat, cleaved end face.  The closer to 90 degrees the cleave is, the more success you will have with matching it to another cleaved fiber to be spliced or mated by a connector.   Most fusion splicers like this angle to be less than 3 degrees.  In order for this to happen, you must use a cleaving tool, most commonly referred to as a fiber optic cleaver. Fiber Optic Cleavers come in many different brands, shapes and sizes.  Mechanical cleavers are the most commonly used cleavers in the industry.  They use a diamond or tungsten wheel/blade to provide the nick in the fiber.  Tension is then applied to the fiber to create the cleaved end face.  The advantage to these cleavers is that they can produce repeatable results through thousands of cleaves by simply just rotating the wheel/blade accordingly.  Most mechanical cleavers are built tough and if in need of repair, they can usually be fixed at a relatively inexpensive cost compared to buying a new unit.  These fiber optic cleavers also have the ability to cleave multiple fibers at once with the use of the correct fiber holder.  Mechanical fiber optic cleavers are widely used and said to be the best value by many Installers in the telecommunications field. Scribes are the least commonly used cleavers as they are not as accurate.  The cleave angle is subject to human error and therefore varies greatly in repeatability.  Most field and lab technicians shy away from these cleavers due to their ineffectiveness.  Scribe cleavers are usually shaped like ballpoint pens with diamond tipped wedges or come in the form of tile squares. Ultrasonic fiber cleavers are utilized mostly by laboratory and semiconductor companies but can also be applied for telecom use as well.  These units add tension prior to the fiber being cleaved then vibrate the diamond cleave blade using ultrasonic technology.  Some units offer the ability to adjust the cleave angle from zero to fifteen degrees.  These are great for Polarization Maintaining fibers and Angled connectors (APC) that need the higher angle degree.  Ultrasonic cleavers are easy to use and offer very good repeatability but generally are more expensive in cost. To find pricing, information and more information on the different fiber optic cleavers currently available, visit eFiberTools.com.  Contact one of their friendly staff members to learn more about all the fiber optic cleavers with the best value that are present in the industry today.   Sign up for their newsletter to get informative news, posts and deals in regards to current products in the fiber optic field.  

Choosing the Right Fusion Splicer

There comes a time in every telecommunications company’s life when new fusion splicers need to be purchased.  With hundreds of options to choose from, this task can become very difficult in choosing the right splicer for the job.  Currently there are over 20 different manufacturers of fusion splicers and more are popping up as I am writing this.  Here is some information on the most common types of fusion splicers which include single fiber splicers, ribbon splicers and the differences between them. Single fiber splicers usually splice 250 micron fiber, but can also hold 900 micron jacketed fiber, flat drop cable and splice on connectors also known as (SOC or splice-on-connectors) used mostly for FTTH applications as well.  One piece of fiber is stripped, cleaned, cleaved then inserted into the fiber holder.  Another fiber repeats the same process to lay in the opposite fiber holder.  Most newer models can splice in less than ten seconds and estimate attenuation (loss of light).  Of course this is only an estimation and the fiber should be tested more accurately with an OTDR.  There are also different types of single fiber splicers that are used. Core alignment simply means they look at the core and use it’s diameter to align the fiber up.  Fixed V-groove splicers use “V” shaped fiber holders and rely on the outside parameters to align the fiber.  Generally, core alignment splicers are more expensive but fiber is becoming so precise and consistent when manufactured that using v-groove splicers is becoming more economical while providing similar splice loss.   Also, there are polarization maintaining a.k.a. “P.M.” splicers.  They use rotating motors on the fiber holders to align the end-faces up by looking at their cleaved ends.  These machines are not as common in outside telecom uses. Ribbon splicers can splice 1 to 12 fibers all at once.  The fiber holders determine the number of fibers you can splice at once.  Usually most mass fusion splicers have twelve spots for fiber on the v-grooves, some may only have four such as the Fitel S121M.  These machines are not nearly as popular as the single fiber machines, but if used on cable where more than one fiber needs to be spliced they are extremely efficient.  When fiber counts of over 96 are needed, there can be up to a 65% savings on per splice costs.  Let’s say on average a single fiber splice costs $25 and a ribbon splice is $110 each.  At a location that needs 144 splices, the single fiber machine would run a cost of $3600.  A ribbon machine would only perform 12 splices at a total of $1320.  The savings would be $2,280 respectively; please keep in mind a slight difference may be due to cost of ribbon cable versus loose tube. When it comes to choosing a splicer, many different factors such as budget, brand loyalty, and specific job requirements are all deciding factors in making an informed decision.  There are more and more companies becoming splicer resellers with no experience or history.  Buyer should be wary of small new companies that do not offer repairs and/or long term support for their products.   Many people are purchasing directly from small distributors and are left abandoned when they need repairs or service.  When doing your research, always shop around, weighing out price, warranties and how confident you feel in purchasing from that company. One company that can help you decide which machine is the best fit for you is eFiberTools.com, Inc.  The supportive staff will help narrow down the choices of equipment to fit your particular needs based on application and budget.  Visit their site www.efibertools.com for live chat or to download brochures, manuals and pdf files pertaining to equipment you want, need or currently own.  Also, contact them directly via phone, 623-582-5560 or toll free 877-773-3423 to talk to a friendly and knowledgeable staff member that can assist you without the high pressure sales pitches used by many of eFiberTools.com’s competition. Contact eFiberTools.com sales@efibertools.com www.efibertools.com 329 W. Melinda Lane Phoenix,  AZ 85027 877-773-3423

Replacement Cleaver Blades

Cleavers do not have “cleave counters” like a fusion splicer has  arc counts. There is no visual way to know when the blade must be turned by looking at the cleaver unless a microscope or magnifier is used to observe the edge of the blade. The numbers on the side of the blade indicates to the technician  the current position of the blade, but not how many times the blade has been rotated though all of the positions.  The manufacturer may suggest rotating the blade to the next position each time electrodes are replaced in the fusion splicer. If this is your equipment and you are the only one who uses it than this technique may work fine for you. Often however the technician is not the only one using the equipment. Perhaps he or she must wait until multiple fibers need to be re-cleaved, or bad splices must be reworked before determining the wheel must be turned or replaced. Although replacing the wheel can be done in the field successfully and without too much trouble, I prefer doing this preventative maintenance at my shop, not in the field. Cleaver blades are not that expensive when you are not purchasing from the manufacturers. Each of the big three manufacturers, Fujikura, Fitel and Sumitomo charges 2 to 3 times the cost of these equivalent quality blades. These cleaver blades are as good as what the manufacturers sell. Considering the price, they are a better bargain. FiberTool® sells the best quality replacement cleaver blades. They are the only aftermarket cleaver blades we know of manufactured in the USA. You can get these quality replacement fusion electrodes for the following manufacturers: • Alcoa Fujikura® • Sumitomo® • Fitel® • Corning® FiberTool® replacement cleaver blades last as long as the original equipment manufactured parts they replace but for 1/2 the price! Each cleaver blade meets and/or  exceeds the specifications set for the fiber optic industry. Each blade is inspected individually to ensure 100% adherence to our stringent tolerances.

eFiberTools.com Wants Resellers for INNO Fusion Splicers

Only at eFiberTools.com – INNO Instrument is seeking to expand its reseller and dealer network in North America for fiber optic fusion splicer through eFiberTools, its North American distributor.

Resellers Wanted - eFiberTools and INNO

RESELLERS WANTED to market INNO Fusion Splicers - eFiberTools.com

“The INNO IFS-10 Fusion Splicer is new on the U.S. market and has proven wildly popular!” eFiberTools, distributor for INNO Instrument IFS-10 fusion splicer, is looking for established resellers and dealers wanted to market their products to end-users. Suitable resellers would already have a presence in the fiber optic broadband and telecommunication sectors. INNO Instrument, located in South Korea, now holds a 70% market share and supplanted Fujikura as the best-selling fusion splicer brand. Since then, INNO has become very popular in numerous other countries. Similar results are expected in the United States where again Fujikura is the market leader presently. eFiberTools’ territory includes the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The IFS-10 is considered a direct replacement for the Fujikura FSM-60S distributed by AFL Telecommunications, but priced 40% less. Of the buyers surveyed, most say the INNO IFS-10 is at least as reliable as the Fujikura FSM-60S, yet it’s superior in quality and value. With ultrahigh design and manufacturing standards of INNO’s products, and considerably lower retail price of the IFS-10 kit, many cabling contractors, fiber manufacturers and others who use fusion splice equipment are very interested in learning more about the INNO’s products. eFiberTools needs resellers who are able to introduce the products to their existing customer base. Interested dealers in North America are encouraged to contact eFiberTools for details. Factory trained technicians are standing by to assist with service and support. Drop-shipping is available for recognized resellers. If you are an end-user and wish to demo, rent or purchase the INNO IFS-10 fusion splicer contact eFiberTools.com at toll-free: (877) 773-3423 , direct: (623) 582-5560, or e-mail info@efibertools.com. Or visit their website at eFiberTools.com. ABOUT EFIBERTOOLS.COM eFiberTools has a growing product line of fusion splicers and fiber splicing equipment, OTDR and optical test equipment, cabling and connectivity products, and other quality fibre-optic products which can be purchased online at eFiberTools.com. New products are being added daily. eFiberTools is dedicated to customer satisfaction and finding products that offer the best-value from around the world. Products selected are from manufacturers with great customer service, great warranties, and the lowest and best prices possible those savings can be passed along to their customers. The company stocks brand-name and quality tested no-brand products from a variety of global manufacturers, such as fusion splicers, OTDR’s and fiber optic testing and certification equipment, full range of optical fiber cabling and connectivity products, tools, networking equipment, and much more. Customers include broadband and telecom providers, FTTh, LAN/WAN, OSP, premises, Telco, CATV contractors, manufacturers and anyone who works with fiber-optic communication networks. Services available through eFiberTools include fast over-night shipping, worldwide shipping, product sourcing of items not displayed on their website, equipment rental and financing, as well as service and support for INNO fusion splicers and others. Not all products are currently listed on their website so be sure to ask if you don’t see what you need. Trade-ins wanted of working, and some non-working, fusion splicers and optical test equipment. They will trade or purchase outright your unneeded, excess or otherwise surplus assets and fiber-related excess inventory. Visit their Phoenix location at 329 W. Melinda Ln., Phoenix AZ 85027, email us at info@efibertools.com, or phone toll-free (877) 773-3423, direct (623) 582-5560. Find more information on fusion splicers, splicing techniques, news and information on our specialty blog add FusionSplicers.org. Dealers Wanted – Fiber Optic Products eFiberTools.com (877) 773-3423 info@efibertools.com   Additional information on the INNO IFS-10 fusion splicer kit.

           

Overstock of Newly Refurbished Fiber Optic OTDRs – Now Available at SurplusEQ.com

Largest inventory of fully warranted OTDRs; overstock forces lowest prices ever offered by SurplusEQ.com. SurplusEQ.com, a leading provider of new and used OTDR and other fiber optic testing equipment. The largest inventory of fully refurbished, newly calibrated OTDRs in the company’s history is now available. Each OTDR will be calibrated prior to shipping to the customer. This is the largest number of OTDRs made available at one time in the company’s history.

OTDRs at SurplusEQ.com

OTDRs at SurplusEQ.com

An optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) is an electronic tester that is used to measure time and intensity of the light signals traveling down optical fiber cable used in fiber optic communication networks. OTDRs are essential tools in detecting and testing the slight optical loss experienced due to reflection from fusion splice, connector, or fiber break. SurplusEQ has a large stock of GN-NetTest CMA-4000, CMA-4000i, CMA-4500 and CMA-5000 OTDRs and batteries and batteries. NetTest was acquired by Anritsu Corp. Each OTDR is refurbished, and will then be calibrated by the factory-trained technicians at Legacy Fiberoptics (legacyfiberoptics.com) before being shipped to the customer, assuring the quality of each unit. The NetTest CMA-series OTDRs are well-known in the industry to be among the most reliable and even years later are highly prized by fiber optic technicians worldwide. Legacy acquired the rights to service the discontinued CMA-series NetTest OTDR, and is fully qualified to perform factory-equivalent repairs and calibrations for many of the Corning, Siecor and Siemens Multi-Testers manufactured during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. SurplusEQ.com offers a great assortment of quality brand-name and no-name new and used OTDR test equipment from manufacturers such as Agilent, Anritsu, CETC , Corning, EXFO, FIS, GN-NetTest, HP, Laser Precision, Photon Kinetics (PK), Tektronix, Wavetek, and others. ABOUT SURPLUSEQ.COM SurplusEQ is a leading provider, and specializes in new, used and surplus OTDRs and other fiber optic testing and splicing equipment. Other products include electronic test equipment, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, telecom, laboratory and other equipment used in the high-tech industries. Equipment wanted! SurplusEQ buys, sells and trades a wide range of high-tech equipment and excess inventory. Liquidate excess or unused capital equipment for cash, or trade for anything we sell. Whether you have one item or an entire facility, SurplusEQ helps customers recover fair value from their surplus high-tech assets through trade-ins, consignment and purchasing. Visit SurplusEQ.com for new and used high-tech equipment. The specialty blog, FusionSplicers.org, offers news and information on fusion splicers in fiber splicing tools and techniques, including new and used OTDRs and other optical testing equipment.  

Grey Market Fiber Splicing & Optical Test Products

The intent of this article is an attempt to provide a solid description of the term “gray-market” as it applies to fusion splicers. Gray-market sales by definition are legal. This is contrary however to what a plaintiff in a legal matter will wish others to believe. In my opinion, what should be illegal is a company’s–usually the manufacturer– ability to price gouge one group of customers simply due to where they happen live, as well as how strong is the manufacturer’s monopoly. The strength of the monopoly is proportionate to the country’s legal system, primarily in the area of law relating to trademarks. This appears to be the case cents a significant number of cases filed appears from my perspective to be based on a trademark violation. The products manufacturer or the regions alleged authorized distributors are the ones most likely to start the action. According to Wikipedia a grey market or gray market also known as parallel market is the trade of a commodity through distribution channels which, while legal, are unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended by the original manufacturer. A black market is the trade of goods and services that are illegal in themselves and/or distributed through illegal channels, such as the selling of stolen goods, certain drugs or unregistered handguns. The two main types of grey market are imported manufactured goods that would normally be unavailable or more expensive in a certain country. Unlike black market goods, grey-market goods are legal. However, they are sold outside normal distribution channels by companies which may have no relationship with the producer of the goods. Frequently this form of parallel import occurs when the price of an item is significantly higher in one country than another. This situation commonly occurs with electronic equipment such as cameras. Entrepreneurs buy the product where it is available cheaply, often at retail but sometimes at wholesale, and import it legally to the target market. They then sell it at a price high enough to provide a profit but under the normal market price. International efforts to promote free trade, including reduced tariffs and harmonized national standards, facilitate this form of arbitrage whenever manufacturers attempt to preserve highly disparate pricing. Grey-market goods are often new, but some grey market goods are used goods. A market in used goods is sometimes nicknamed a Green Market. A related concept is bootlegging, the smuggling or transport of highly regulated goods, especially alcoholic beverages. The term “bootlegging” is also often applied to the production or distribution of counterfeit or otherwise infringing goods. Grey markets can sometimes develop for select video game consoles and titles whose demand temporarily outstrips supply and the local shops run out of stock, this happens especially during the holiday season. Other popular items, such as dolls can also be affected. In such situations the grey market price may be considerably higher than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Online auction sites such as eBay have contributed to the emergence of the video game grey market. The parties most concerned with the grey market are usually the authorized agents or importers, or the retailers of the item in the target market. Often this is the national subsidiary of the manufacturer, or a related company. In response to the resultant damage to their profits and reputation, manufacturers and their official distribution chain will often seek to restrict the grey market. Such responses can breach competition law, particularly in the European Union. Manufacturers or their licensees often seek to enforce trademark or other intellectual-property rights against the grey market. Such rights may be exercised against the import, sale and/or advertisement of grey imports. In 2002, Levi Strauss, after a 4-year legal fight, prevented UK supermarket Tesco from selling grey market jeans.[4] However, such rights can be limited. Examples of such limitations include the first-sale doctrine in the United States and the doctrine of the exhaustion of rights in the European Union. When grey-market products are advertised on Google, eBay or other legitimate web sites, it is possible to petition for removal of any advertisements that violate trademark or copyright laws. This can be done directly, without the involvement of legal professionals. eBay, for example, will remove listings of such products even in countries where their purchase and use is not against the law. Manufacturers may refuse to supply distributors and retailers (and with commercial products, customers) that trade in grey-market goods. They may also more broadly limit supplies in markets where prices are low. Manufacturers may refuse to honor the warranty of an item purchased from grey-market sources, on the grounds that the higher price on the non-grey market reflects a higher level of service even though the manufacturer does of course control their own prices to distributors. Alternatively, they may provide the warranty service only from the manufacturer’s subsidiary in the intended country of import, not the diverted third country where the grey goods are ultimately sold by the distributor or retailer. This response to the grey market is especially evident in electronics goods Manufacturers may give the same item different model numbers in different countries, even though the functions of the item are identical, so that they can identify grey imports. Manufacturers can also use batch codes to enable similar tracing of grey imports. Parallel market importers often de-code the product in order to avoid the identification of the supplier. In the United States, courts have decided that decoding which blemishes the product is a material alteration, rendering the product infringed. Parallel market importers have worked around this limitation by developing new removal techniques. The development of DVD region codes, and equivalent regional-lockout techniques in other media, are examples of technological features designed to limit the flow of goods between national markets, effectively fighting the grey market that would otherwise develop. This enables movie studios and other content creators to charge more for the same product in one market than in another or alternatively withhold the product from some markets for a particular time. Consumer advocacy groups argue that this discrimination against consumers—the charging of higher prices on the same object simply because of where they happen to live—is unjust and anti-competitive. Since it requires governments to legislate to prevent their citizens from purchasing goods at cheaper prices from other markets, and since this is clearly not in their citizens’ interests, many governments in democratic countries have chosen not to protect anti-competitive technologies such as DVD region-coding. The above was taken in part from Wikipedia’s definition of gray market. This posting will be edited over time to conform more specifically to fusion splicers and other fiber optic and optical products.

The Grey-Market and Fujikura Fusion Splicers

The intent of this article is an attempt to provide a solid description of what the term “gray-market” does and does not mean. Gray-market sales by definition are legal. This is contrary however to what a plaintiff in a legal matter will wish others to believe. In my opinion, what should illegal is a company’s–usually the manufacturer– ability to price gouge one group of customers simply due to where they happen live, as well as how strong is the manufacturer’s monopoly. The strength of the monopoly is proportionate to the country’s legal system, primarily in the area of law relating to trademarks. This appears to be the case cents a significant number of cases filed appears from my perspective to be based on a trademark violation. The products manufacturer or the regions alleged authorized distributors are the ones most likely to start the action. According to Wikipedia a grey market or gray market also known as parallel market is the trade of a commodity through distribution channels which, while legal, are unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended by the original manufacturer. A black market is the trade of goods and services that are illegal in themselves and/or distributed through illegal channels, such as the selling of stolen goods, certain drugs or unregistered handguns. The two main types of grey market are imported manufactured goods that would normally be unavailable or more expensive in a certain country. Unlike black market goods, grey-market goods are legal. However, they are sold outside normal distribution channels by companies which may have no relationship with the producer of the goods. Frequently this form of parallel import occurs when the price of an item is significantly higher in one country than another. This situation commonly occurs with electronic equipment such as cameras. Entrepreneurs buy the product where it is available cheaply, often at retail but sometimes at wholesale, and import it legally to the target market. They then sell it at a price high enough to provide a profit but under the normal market price. International efforts to promote free trade, including reduced tariffs and harmonized national standards, facilitate this form of arbitrage whenever manufacturers attempt to preserve highly disparate pricing. Grey-market goods are often new, but some grey market goods are used goods. A market in used goods is sometimes nicknamed a Green Market. A related concept is bootlegging, the smuggling or transport of highly regulated goods, especially alcoholic beverages. The term “bootlegging” is also often applied to the production or distribution of counterfeit or otherwise infringing goods. Grey markets can sometimes develop for select video game consoles and titles whose demand temporarily outstrips supply and the local shops run out of stock, this happens especially during the holiday season. Other popular items, such as dolls can also be affected. In such situations the grey market price may be considerably higher than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Online auction sites such as eBay have contributed to the emergence of the video game grey market. The parties most concerned with the grey market are usually the authorized agents or importers, or the retailers of the item in the target market. Often this is the national subsidiary of the manufacturer, or a related company. In response to the resultant damage to their profits and reputation, manufacturers and their official distribution chain will often seek to restrict the grey market. Such responses can breach competition law, particularly in the European Union. Manufacturers or their licensees often seek to enforce trademark or other intellectual-property rights against the grey market. Such rights may be exercised against the import, sale and/or advertisement of grey imports. In 2002, Levi Strauss, after a 4-year legal fight, prevented UK supermarket Tesco from selling grey market jeans.[4] However, such rights can be limited. Examples of such limitations include the first-sale doctrine in the United States and the doctrine of the exhaustion of rights in the European Union. When grey-market products are advertised on Google, eBay or other legitimate web sites, it is possible to petition for removal of any advertisements that violate trademark or copyright laws. This can be done directly, without the involvement of legal professionals. eBay, for example, will remove listings of such products even in countries where their purchase and use is not against the law. Manufacturers may refuse to supply distributors and retailers (and with commercial products, customers) that trade in grey-market goods. They may also more broadly limit supplies in markets where prices are low. Manufacturers may refuse to honor the warranty of an item purchased from grey-market sources, on the grounds that the higher price on the non-grey market reflects a higher level of service even though the manufacturer does of course control their own prices to distributors. Alternatively, they may provide the warranty service only from the manufacturer’s subsidiary in the intended country of import, not the diverted third country where the grey goods are ultimately sold by the distributor or retailer. This response to the grey market is especially evident in electronics goods Manufacturers may give the same item different model numbers in different countries, even though the functions of the item are identical, so that they can identify grey imports. Manufacturers can also use batch codes to enable similar tracing of grey imports. Parallel market importers often de-code the product in order to avoid the identification of the supplier. In the United States, courts have decided that decoding which blemishes the product is a material alteration, rendering the product infringed. Parallel market importers have worked around this limitation by developing new removal techniques. The development of DVD region codes, and equivalent regional-lockout techniques in other media, are examples of technological features designed to limit the flow of goods between national markets, effectively fighting the grey market that would otherwise develop. This enables movie studios and other content creators to charge more for the same product in one market than in another or alternatively withhold the product from some markets for a particular time. Consumer advocacy groups argue that this discrimination against consumers—the charging of higher prices on the same object simply because of where they happen to live—is unjust and anti-competitive. Since it requires governments to legislate to prevent their citizens from purchasing goods at cheaper prices from other markets, and since this is clearly not in their citizens’ interests, many governments in democratic countries have chosen not to protect anti-competitive technologies such as DVD region-coding. The above was taken in part from Wikipedia’s definition of gray market. This posting will be edited over time to conform more specifically to fusion splicers and other fiber optic and optical products.  

Fiber Splicing Basics

MODEL IFS-10 FUSION SPLICER

In fusion splicing, the cores and cladding of the two fibers are actually melted together. The core is the central part of the fiber and has a very small diameter. The core is where the light travels through the fiber.  Because of this, it requires a very precise instrument to align and then weld the cores in such away to let them most light pass through the point of joining. The diameter of single mode fiber is about 1/100 of a millimeter, and for multi-mode fiber the diameter is 1/16 of the millimeter. For comparison, a human hair is about 1/8 of a millimeter in diameter. Because of the small diameter of the fiber core, it is difficult to position two fibers so that their cores line up nearly perfectly. The light cannot pass through if the cores are not lined up just right. In addition, the heating of the fiber must be very exact. If not enough heat then the two ends will not melt together. Conversely, if too much heat is applied then the fiber may droop or deform and again not line up properly. Best fusion splicers on the market today are automated. That is, when you put two properly stripped and cleaved fibers and these devices, they automatically line up the fibers, use them together, and measure the DB loss at the splice. The automated fusion splicers are designed to work with many different types and combinations of fibers. It is possible to splice different types of fibers, including the most common types single and multi-mode fibers using the splicer’s preprogrammed factory settings. Manual operation is still possible when necessary. Splicing Procedure Stripping the fiber: The splicing process begins by preparing each fiber for fusion. Fibers are prepared by stripping away all of the protection, including any jacket and sheath. The fibers are then stripped of their protective polymer coating in preparation for fusion splicing. Thermal strippers are best as they minimize the risk of damage to the fiber but the most common fiber strippers look almost identical to handheld wire strippers. Cleaning the fiber: The bear fibers are cleaned using alcohol and wipes, or an ultrasonic cleaner. Cleaving the fiber: Once only beer glass remains, the fibers are then cleaved to expose a predetermined length of bare fiber. Most fiber optic cleavers on the market today use a tungsten carbide wheel or diamond blade to score, or ‘nick’, the fiber. This intentionally creates a microscopic fracture in the side of the fiber where the break is to result. Proper tension is used to pull the fiber, or a force is applied perpendicular to the longitudinal axis causing a controlled break and producing a perfectly flat endface. This is called the score-and-break, or scribe-and-break method. Properly done, cleaving leas a mirror-like finish. It should be perfectly flat and perpendicular to the axis of the fiber. Fusion splicing: The fibers are then clamped into the fusion splicers fiber holders, which may be fixed or removable dependent on the type of splicer. Today’s best fusion splicers will automatically identify the type of fibers being used and select the appropriate splice program, or allow manual control. The amount of loss allowed in the fiber-optic network due to splice or connector losses, the more sophisticated the fusion splicer required. Simple splicers let the fibers align themselves during the fusion while more sophisticated machines and just the both fiber sites to match each other. There are two basic types of fusion splicing systems in today’s fiber splicing machines, Core Alignment and Cladding Alignment. Cladding AlignmentCore Alignment Core Alignment: The technique associated with the more expensive Core Alignment or Profile Alignment System (PAS) splicers use the fiber’s core to align the fibers in the splicer. Cladding Alignment: The other commonly used method is called Cladding Alignment or Fixed V-Groove Alignment and uses the precision v-grooves to help align the fibers. With this method instead of the fibers core it’s the outside or cladding which the splicer uses to align the fibers. Protecting the fiber:Protective Splice Sleeves Once the splice is completed the splice protection sleeve is slid over the fused area and bare fiber and into the heat oven.   Tips for maintaining your fusion splicer Fusion splicers are expensive precision tools and must be cared for as such. Repairs can be very expensive, especially with the Japanese models. Fujikura, Fitel and Sumitomo have an uncommon control over pricing, distribution and repairs. Be prepared to pay substantially over the life of the splicer for factory maintenance. This is a good reason to take excellent care of your fusion splicer. One of the biggest concerns here is cleanliness. Electrodes Remember, it is not necessary to pay the exorbitant manufacturer prices for replacement fusion splicer electrodes. In several examples, we have confirmed that at least a couple of the splicer manufacturers sell the same electrodes as sold by eFiberTools.com and other vendors. Do not pay $90-$125 when you can get them  same or better quality for half the price. Cleaning Carefully clean the mirrors and camera lenses to ensure proper splicing operations. Be sure to use only 99.9% isopropyl alcohol or an approved product designed specifically for cleaning fiber optics. Dirt removal in the precision v-grooves is imperative. You can use a piece of scrap fiber to scrape out any debris in the v-grooves or fiber holders. Caution: Using canned air to blow out a fusion splicer can cause dirt or shards of glass to sandblast mirrors and lenses, as well as in bed this debris into motors, bearings or other moving parts.  

Choosing the Right Fusion Splicer

There comes a time in every telecommunications company’s life when new fusion splicers need to be purchased.  With hundreds of options to choose from, this task can become very difficult in choosing the right splicer for the job.  Currently there are over 20 different manufacturers of fusion splicers and more are popping up as I am writing this.  Here is some information on the most common types of fusion splicers which include single fiber splicers, ribbon splicers and the differences between them. Single fiber splicers usually splice 250 micron fiber, but can also hold 900 micron jacketed fiber, flat drop cable and splice on connectors also known as (SOC or splice-on-connectors) used mostly for FTTH applications as well.  One piece of fiber is stripped, cleaned, cleaved then inserted into the fiber holder.  Another fiber repeats the same process to lay in the opposite fiber holder.  Most newer models can splice in less than ten seconds and estimate attenuation (loss of light).  Of course this is only an estimation and the fiber should be tested more accurately with an OTDR.  There are also different types of single fiber splicers that are used. Core alignment simply means they look at the core and use it’s diameter to align the fiber up.  Fixed V-groove splicers use “V” shaped fiber holders and rely on the outside parameters to align the fiber.  Generally, core alignment splicers are more expensive but fiber is becoming so precise and consistent when manufactured that using v-groove splicers is becoming more economical while providing similar splice loss.   Also, there are polarization maintaining a.k.a. “P.M.” splicers.  They use rotating motors on the fiber holders to align the endfaces up by looking at their cleaved ends.  These machines are not as common in outside telecom uses. Ribbon splicers can splice 1 to 12 fibers all at once.  The fiber holders usually have twelve spots for fiber on the v-grooves, some may only have four such as the Fitel S121M.  These machines are not nearly as popular as the single fiber machines, but if used on cable where more than one fiber needs to be spliced they are extremely efficient.  When fiber counts of over 96 are needed, there can be up to a 65% savings on per splice costs.  Let’s say on average a single fiber splice costs $25 and a ribbon splice is $110 each.  At a location that needs 144 splices, the single fiber machine would run a cost of $3600.  A ribbon machine would only perform 12 splices at a total of $1320.  The savings would be $2,280 respectively; please keep in mind a slight difference may be due to cost of ribbon cable versus loose tube. When it comes to choosing a splicer, many different factors such as budget, brand loyalty, and specific job requirements are all deciding factors in making an informed decision.  There are more and more companies becoming splicer resellers with no experience or history.  Buyer should be wary of small new companies that do not offer repairs and/or long term support for their products.   Many people are purchasing directly from small distributors and are left abandoned when they need repairs or service.  When doing your research, always shop around, weighing out price, warranties and how confident you feel in purchasing from that company. One company that can help you decide which machine is the best fit for you is eFiberTools.com, Inc.  The supportive staff will help narrow down the choices of equipment to fit your particular needs based on application and budget.  Visit their site www.efibertools.com for live chat or to download brochures, manuals and pdf files pertaining to equipment you want, need or currently own.  Also, contact them directly via phone, 623-582-5560 or toll free 877-773-3423 to talk to a friendly and knowledgeable staff member that can assist you without the high pressure sales pitches used by many of eFiberTools.com’s competition.  

What is a Fusion Splicer?

While quite obvious to those in the fiber industry, this basic question is common among those outside of this niche. With that, we’ll do our best to give a high-level overview and definition of the fusion splicer. Fusion Splicer Definition: A fusion splicer is a device that uses an electrical arc to weld two pieces of fiber cable together. This process of welding the cables together is called “fusing” or “splicing”. Thus the devices “splice” the cables using “fusion” and are called “Fusion Splicers.” The process in which this equipment works is as such: Two Strands of fiber are mounted on corresponding fixtures and properly aligned. The fiber ends are inspected under a microscope as the quality of the ends and the proper angle at which they fuse is important to reduce “splice loss”. The machine then splices the two fibers with the electrical arc. Originally, fusion splicers used nichrome wire to heat each fiber end but now there are advanced techniques more commonly employed including gas flames, CO2 Carbon Dioxide and of course most commonly electrical arcs. Fusion Splicer Users: Typical users of fusion splicers and splicing hardware include telecommunications workers, cable companies employees, the military and anyone else who might work with fiber-optics on a regular basis. Regular users of these devices greatly appreciate the increased speed and precision as well as automatic splicing capabilities that come with the latest models.